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Republicans Blocking Hagel Nomination, For Now

Hagel Hearing

As they have been threatening all along, Senate Republicans are moving to block the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be Defense Secretary, and it’s not entirely because of issues surrounding the Hagel nomination itself:

WASHINGTON — Leading Senate Republicans say that without new information from the White House, they will try to block the confirmation of Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee to be secretary of defense, setting up a showdown vote on Friday.

While Democrats had hoped that Mr. Hagel could clear the Senate by the end of the week, several Republican senators have now indicated they will not support an effort to end the debate and take a final vote on his nomination, leaving Republicans mounting what appears to be the first filibuster in history against a Pentagon secretary — a post usually filled with strong bipartisan support.

Mr. Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska and decorated Vietnam veteran, had earlier appeared to have at least the 60 votes required to break a Republican filibuster. But Senator John McCain of Arizona and other Republicans who had said they might oppose Mr. Hagel but would not back a filibuster now say they will not support ending debate until they receive more detailed answers to questions about the administration’s response to the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Specifically, a group of Republican senators including Mr. McCain and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, have asked the president whether he spoke with anyone in the Libyan government to request assistance during the attack. They say they have not yet received an answer to the questions, which are not directly related to Mr. Hagel.

The White House strongly condemned Republican efforts to stall the vote, saying they were sending the wrong signal to the world. “We urge the Republicans in the Senate to drop their delay,” Josh Earnest, a spokesman for the president, told reporters aboard Air Force One. “There is a clear majority in the United States Senate for Senator Hagel’s confirmation. These delaying tactics are unconscionable, and they should end right away.”

With Democrats controlling 55 of the Senate’s 100 seats and a few Republicans saying they will back Mr. Hagel for the post, he appears to have the support to win confirmation if he can surmount the Republican procedural tactics. The current Pentagon secretary, Leon E. Panetta, is preparing to vacate his post imminently. A vote on the Democratic effort to end debate is set for Friday morning. With some Republicans remaining silent, it is still possible that Mr. Hagel will get the 60 necessary to cut off debate.

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic majority leader, took to the floor on Thursday to denounce Republicans for trying to use the confirmation process for political gain and accused them of undermining the nation’s national security.

“This isn’t a high school getting ready for a football game,” Mr. Reid said. “We’re trying to confirm somebody to run the defenses of our country, the military of our country.”

He added: “For the sake of our national security, we need to put aside this political theater, and that’s what it is. People are worried about primary elections. We know how the Tea Party goes after election when they aren’t conservative enough. Is that something they need to have on their résumé? I filibustered one of the president’s nominees? Is that what they want?”

Previously, there had been indications that there were enough Republicans willing to invoke cloture to allow the Democrats to get to their 60 vote margin quite easily, but that seems to have fallen apart. John McCain had previously stated he would not support a filibuster, but has not joined Lindsey Graham in vowing to delay the vote until the White House responds to additional questions regarding what happened during the September 11, 2012 raid on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. Additionally, Senator Roy Blunt, who had also said he would not support a filibuster and has objected in the past to the idea of setting a precedent with the Hagel nomination, is now hinting that he may be waffling by saying that failure to vote on Hagel this week would be a mere “delay,” although it would be a delay of at least two weeks since the Senate is scheduled to go into recess after Friday. As of this moment, then, there are three Republicans who we know will vote to invoke cloture — Susan Collins, Mike Johanns, and Thad Cochran — which leaves Reid two votes short of the 60 he would need to get the nomination through tomorrow. As of the moment, both Politico and ABC News are reporting that Democratic insiders are saying that they do not believe that they have the votes to win tomorrow morning.

So, at least temporarily, the GOP seems to have the ability to delay the Hagel nomination but, as Daniel Larison notes, they are not exactly conducting themselves like statesmen while doing so:

The impressive thing about the anti-Hagel effort is how politically tone-deaf it is. It’s not just that their opposition is misguided, but they stand to gain nothing from it. No one outside of a small core of hard-liners sympathizes with what Senate Republicans are doing. While they may not be losing any votes over this, they are making sure that all of the moderates, independents, and realists that they have alienated over the last ten years will keep running away from them. Except for dedicated partisans, no one can look at the display most Senate Republicans have put on over the last eight weeks and conclude that these people should be in the majority.

Many of Hagel’s most vocal Senate critics right now were elected in the last two elections. For example, Cruz, Ayotte, and Lee have nothing personally at stake in defending the Iraq war or the wisdom of the “surge.” None of them voted to support either of these, and many of them weren’t in the Senate when Hagel was. I might be able to understand the hostility of older members that bear a grudge against Hagel, but the hostility of the new members is much stranger. They are damaging their reputations to defend the legacy of other Republicans’ failures. Partisan loyalty I can understand. It’s the attachment to the worst mistakes of the worst postwar Republican administration that I can’t fathom.

Kevin Drum is similarly confused about what the GOP motives actually are here, and I have to admit I’m in the same boat. It seems rather clear at this point that the GOP is opposing Hagel largely because he stands against the neo-conservatism that has been the status quo foreign policy in the party, and as a mechanism for attempting to curry favor with those for whom blind loyalty to Israel is a political requirement. If they actually believed what they say about Hagel’s competence, then one wonders why they’d oppose him at all. After all, if Hagel is defeated Obama would just nominate someone else, perhaps someone that would be even more of a problem for the GOP. What will they have won at that point?

For his own part, Hagel is making it clear that he’s not withdrawing and there’s absolutely no sign that the White House or Senate Democrats are giving up on the nomination. What’s unclear, though, is whether or not they’ll be able to get a vote in without delaying things. CNN Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash is reporting on Twitter that there are talks taking place regarding a deal that would delay the nomination, presumably until after the upcoming recess, but would then require only a 51-vote majority to get Hagel’s nomination through, essentially eliminating the need to invoke cloture. If this deal is done, then Hagel’s confirmation will be secured, albeit delayed, and this pointless Republican escapade will be at an end. What they think they will have accomplished I don’t understand.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    They will have toadied the Israeli lobby, that’s what they’ll have accomplished. They’re giving a foreign government control over our Secretary of Defense.

    We have here the once-smart Israeli lobby sliding down to the brute level of the Tea Party, in a creepy echo of the GOP’s own descent into madness.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 35 Thumb down 0

  2. Doubter4444 says:

    Honestly, It’s about Obama, and doing anything they can to “get him” somehow.
    Do you really think it’s something else?
    I’m asking frankly – do you all at OTB think this is being done for other reasons?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 35 Thumb down 0

  3. Maxwell James says:

    While I never saw real filibuster reform as likely, it’s pretty funny how quickly its failure has made the Democratic leadership look ridiculous.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 35 Thumb down 0

  4. rudderpedals says:

    What they think they will have accomplished I don’t understand.

    They will crow about obstructing the sinister President again. The base licks this stuff up. This is all about the next primary.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  5. stonetools says:

    So Lucy pulled away the football again.No one could have predicted that this would happen, after the Democrats failed to enact meaningful filibuster reform. / snark.

    Can’t say I feel a bit sorry for Harry Reid.

    Obama should have just gone ahead and nominated a liberal Democrat. Once again the usurping Kenyan Muslim has reached out a hand across the isle, and once again its come back half bitten off.

    I breathlessly await James’ explanation as to why the reasonable Republicans didn’t prevent this unprecedented filibuster of a major Cabinet nomination

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 0

  6. Rob in CT says:

    Combination of:

    1) Stymie Obama
    2) Knife the Apostate (I mean, the guy had the chutzpah to decide Iraq, The Sequel was a mistake! Burn him!)
    3) Crazed “pro-Israel” signaling that crossed into self-parody years ago.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  7. Rob in CT says:

    @stonetools:

    Also this. Screw you, Harry Reid, you loser.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  8. Woody says:

    There doesn’t have to be one Illuminati-like cabal pulling the strings on all 42 GOP holdouts – but there most certainly is a confluence of motivations – Sen. Graham is guided by his certain primary challenge from the Right, for example.

    This is being presented as a Principled Stand against the insurgent President on the rightwing media circuit. Outside of it, however, well, the quote from Larison above is spot on.

    Remember, most Americans aren’t obsessively political – but they’ll see “GOP opposes Republican Secretary of Defense Nominee” leading the news and wonder what the nutballs are up to now.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  9. Babel says:

    Hey Harry, how’s that agreement with McConnell going?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  10. Latino_in_Boston says:

    Try to imagine, if you will, a West Wing scenario that would make the GOP look ridiculous.

    “Hey Aaron Sorkin, how about we play out a case where the GOP in the minority create an unprecedented filibuster against one of their own members for Secretary of Defense and where they manage to either a) delay the Secretary for only a few weeks but looking like assholes while doing it, or b) manage to stop him and forcing the President go get a more liberal candidate for Defense?”

    Sorkin would have to respond: “C’mon, we can’t do that. The GOP you’re describing is too much of a cartoon villain that is not even rational. No one would believe that.”

    That’s a great thought experiment to show just how far off the reservation the GOP has gone. Do they even care about foreign policy at all?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  11. James Joyner says:

    If I’m reading Graham correctly, he plans to vote for cloture but not right away. I think this drags past the holiday weekend and gets resolved next week.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8

  12. C. Clavin says:

    Lindsey “Butters” Graham is only interested in preventing a primary challenge in ’14.
    That is all. Nothing more. If you ascribe anything more to his motives you are over-thinking it.
    “Butters” is just another hypocritical small Government Republican unwilling, and unable, to wean himself from the Government teet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  13. stonetools says:

    Harry Reid should schedule a vote for filibuster reform first thing Tuesday morning, and dare the Republicans to go ahead with a filibuster.
    Time to stop the nonsense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  14. mantis says:

    @Maxwell James:

    While I never saw real filibuster reform as likely, it’s pretty funny how quickly its failure has made the Democratic leadership look ridiculous.

    Yeah, they’re the ones who look ridiculous, and not the folks holding up the vote because they are children.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  15. mantis says:

    @stonetools:

    Harry Reid should schedule a vote for filibuster reform first thing Tuesday morning, and dare the Republicans to go ahead with a filibuster.
    Time to stop the nonsense.

    That won’t stop the nonsense. What incentive do the Republicans have not to filibuster? The good of the nation? They don’t care.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  16. LaMont says:

    To add insult to injury, the most sickening thing about what they are doing is that, in many respects, it only solidifies their chances of winning their respective elections in what is now a gerrymandered pile of horse$&%#! They don’t give a damn about how the public perceives their actions while they govern from the extreme right – this is really the only way they can win a primary these days! Unfortunate but true! These people are incompetent slimeballs incapable of doing anything that does not serve their selfish motives!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  17. LaMont says:

    @mantis:

    Unfortunately, I don’t think Harry Reid himself believes in taking away the power of the filibuster. If he did, something meaningful would have already been on the table and quite possibly passed during the lame duck session (I think).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  18. stonetools says:

    @James Joyner:

    So James, future Republican Presidential candidate Rand Paul says that he is opposing Hagel because the The Atlantic Council is a front for a fearsome sounding terrorist group called Friends of Hamas, as reported by Briebart.com. However, according to Slate reporter Dave Wiegel, that group may not exist. Care to clear up what’s going on here?
    If this group doesn’t exist, why is at least US Senator pushing its support of your employer as a reason to filibuster Hagel? Inquiring minbds want to know..

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  19. DDearborn says:

    Hmmm

    This is a blatant example of a tiny minority (the jewish lobby) imposing their will on the Senating and dictating to the American people. Hagels only sin is that he refuses to bow the jewish lobby which insists that israel must come first. Good grief if you ever needed proof as to who are the real traitors in the Senae who are readily willing and able to put israel first last and always look at who is blocking this nomination. Traitors every single one of them

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  20. Tyrell says:

    Here are some of the issues that the defense secretary will have: North Korea, Iran, intelligence capabilities, the Russians, and a greatly reduced defense capability as a result of massive defense cuts (strongly opposed by Panetta). It seems. that every time this country has to learn the hard way about not staying vigilante.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  21. michael reynolds says:

    @DDearborn:
    It’s the Israel lobby, not the Jewish lobby. It’s key supporters are no longer exclusively or perhaps even predominately Jews but rather right-wing Christians.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  22. Lynda says:

    @Tyrell:
    In 2012 the US spent more on its military than at least the next 13 countries combined. We spend 5 times more than China and 10 times more than Russia and almost 100 times more than Iran.

    Even more importantly, as Dr Joyner pointed out last year, most of the high spenders are strong US allies. http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/does-america-spend-more-than-next-10-nations-combined-on-defense/

    Unless you think the perfidious Brits are just waiting for the opportunity to burn down the White House whilst the Canadians go after Alaska, the defense budget can probably withstand a bit of judicious pruning without imperiling the safety of the nation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  23. al-Ameda says:

    Graham and his malevolent GOP colleagues are holding on to their fantasy that they can still use their “concern” over Benghazi to somehow extract information that will lead to impeachment proceedings in the House.

    What else is the motivation? Obama is again proved wrong in his notion that thee is a benefit to attempting assuage Republicans. Nominate Hagel – a closet North Korean & Hamas operative? What was he thinking? Republicans are the single biggest waste of oxygen on this planet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  24. David M says:

    I don’t think why has mattered to the GOP for quite a while. Obama supports Hagel, so the GOP must oppose him. Apparently having a coherent excuse is too much work for them now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  25. Tillman says:

    @mantis:

    Yeah, they’re the ones who look ridiculous, and not the folks holding up the vote because they are children.

    No, the parents look ridiculous. The child doesn’t know better; the parent has responsibility over it.

    The fact that I’m calling Democrats “parents” describes just how f’d up this whole situation is, and how idiotic those “senior Democratic senators” were to be queasy about filibuster reform.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  26. labman57 says:

    Benghazi conspiracy theorists are no different than birthers.

    No amount of evidence will satisfy them, because they need the ability to thump their chests in faux outrage — the steadfast denial of the readily available evidence gives congressional Republicans a rationalization for their blatant obstructionism and political contrarianism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  27. Jeremy R says:

    @James Joyner:

    If I’m reading Graham correctly, he plans to vote for cloture but not right away. I think this drags past the holiday weekend and gets resolved next week.

    Graham’s lying, as are all of those not invoking cloture. In Graham’s case he even gave himself his out in his statement today:

    Unless there’s some bombshell, I’d be prepared to move on”

    What’s actually going on here is they’re giving Hagel’s opposition 10 more days to try smear Hagel as an anti-semite and an Iran-appeaser. Look at what drudge, brietbart and jennifer rubin are obsessing over at the moment (2007 blogposts paraphrasing speeches, 2008 videos, etc).

    The Senate GOP knows full well what they’re doing, even as they pretend publicly they’re just delaying and will eventually allow the confirmation to go through. What they’re up to is giving the more disreputable and unscrupulous parts of the right-wing media apparatus one last go at destroying their former colleague in dirtiest ways possible. They’re gutless cowards, the lot of them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  28. Tillman says:

    My favorite headline on this has to be Weigel’s “Hagel Cloture Vote Set for 4:15; Sen. Merkley Reminds Democrats That They Could Have Avoided This.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  29. Jeremy R says:

    So first Graham, McCain and Ayotte were going to filibuster if the Defense secretary didn’t personally testify in front of them on Benghazi. He testified and they moved the goalposts to whether the President called Libya on the day of the attack. The President answered that in a letter today, which apparently wasn’t enough, as now they’re moving the goal posts, yet again, to the minute details of the public Benghazi talking points and the filibuster threat now includes John Brennan:

    http://www.politico.com/story/2013/02/john-brennan-cia-nomination-senators-say-theyll-hold-up-cia-nominee-over-benghazi-talking-points-87677.html?hp=l1

    A trio of Republican senators will delay the nomination of John Brennan to be head of the CIA if they don’t receive an answer from the White House about who changed talking points in the days after the attacks on the consulate in Benghazi.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham said he, along with Sens. John McCain and Kelly Ayotte, are determined to receive an answer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  30. de stijl says:

    It seems that every time this country has to learn the hard way about not staying vigilante.

    Best typo of the week.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  31. Jeremy R says:

    @Jeremy R:

    What’s actually going on here is they’re giving Hagel’s opposition 10 more days to try smear Hagel as an anti-semite and an Iran-appeaser.

    And it begins. Here’s uber-hack Jennifer Rubin shaking out reaction to a 2007 blogger’s claimed paraphrasing of a Rutgers Hagel speech:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2013/02/14/hagel-vote-delayed-new-outrageous-statement-alleged/

    Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said in a phone conversation that the notion that our government is an adjunct of Israel is “beyond fantasy.” As for Hagel himself, Cooper was blunt: “Do most Americans think he is the best person? They do not.” Moreover, Hagel’s shaky performance on Iran troubled Cooper greatly. “He either wasn’t briefed, or maybe he was nervous,” he offered. But well beyond any ludicrous statements about Jews and Israel, Cooper said, “most important, the mullahs are going full-blast with nuclearization. Our only shot is a chokehold on the people that count [in the regime] and the fear of a powerful, immediate response.” He worries that Hagel simply won’t be able to advance that position. “He would be entering the endgame,” Cooper said.

    Abe Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League reacts to the reported comment by Hagel: “It is somewhat puzzling that this would surface the day that the Senate was scheduled to vote on the nomination. Nevertheless, if the story is true, it is very disturbing – probably more disturbing than his interview in Aaron David Miller’s book. If it is not true, then Senator Hagel should say so, and take the speculation about his remark off of the table.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  32. rudderpedals says:

    It’s typical as always GOP bitchslap style politics but Susan Rice left fresh blood in the water, and now it’s a frenzy.

    More from one of the Three Stooges on Brennan obstruction at http://www.rollcall.com/news/graham_brennans_nomination_is_leverage_to_probe_benghazi_talking_points-222451-1.html?pos=oplyh

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  33. mantis says:

    @LaMont:

    Unfortunately, I don’t think Harry Reid himself believes in taking away the power of the filibuster. If he did, something meaningful would have already been on the table and quite possibly passed during the lame duck session (I think).

    He couldn’t have passed anything during the lame duck. The only real opportunity to pass something without Republicans was at the beginning of this Congress, and they passed something that obviously has no effect. I don’t think Reid wants to eliminate the filibuster, and at least some Democratic Senators agree, because they know they will want to be able to use it if and when they find themselves in the minority.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  34. mantis says:

    @Tillman:

    No, the parents look ridiculous. The child doesn’t know better; the parent has responsibility over it.

    They are adults who know better acting like children, because they are rewarded for by their real parents, their base.

    The fact that I’m calling Democrats “parents” describes just how f’d up this whole situation is, and how idiotic those “senior Democratic senators” were to be queasy about filibuster reform.

    I think it was a mistake, but I don’t think it was idiotic. There are no such thing as permanent majorities in the US Senate. I doubt many Democratic senators who are against real filibuster reform had many illusions about Republicans playing nice. If they really did, then you are right they are idiots.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  35. PJ says:

    @Jeremy R:

    So first Graham, McCain and Ayotte were going to filibuster if the Defense secretary didn’t personally testify in front of them on Benghazi. He testified and they moved the goalposts to whether the President called Libya on the day of the attack. The President answered that in a letter today, which apparently wasn’t enough, as now they’re moving the goal posts, yet again, to the minute details of the public Benghazi talking points and the filibuster threat now includes John Brennan

    You don’t negotiate with terrorists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  36. Jeremy R says:

    @PJ:

    You don’t negotiate with terrorists.

    John McCain Denies Delaying Hagel Nomination Over Letter Formatting

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  37. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @James Joyner: Stonetools scores! James deflects the question by minimizing the McConnell’s actions! Details at 11.;

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  38. matt bernius says:

    @LaMont:

    To add insult to injury, the most sickening thing about what they are doing is that, in many respects, it only solidifies their chances of winning their respective elections in what is now a gerrymandered pile of horse$&%#!

    Sorry dude, had to downvote you for failing your high school civics teacher (or more likely, their failing you). Gerrymandering is a problem in the House. This is taking place in the Senate – in other words, Statewide elections.

    And while there can still be shenanigans, it’s really not possible to gerrymander a State.

    BTW +1 to everyone whose pointed out that this is all about Graham fending off a challenge from the extreme right wing (and, I suspect, a fear among Republicans that if Graham lost the primary, they might lose that seat in the general).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  39. LaMont says:

    @matt bernius:

    Ahh yes – you are correct. I mistakened the willfull childishness going on in the senate (for self-serving motives) for the willfull childishness going on in the house (because of gerrymandering – another self-seving motive). It only validates my main point. Republicans that are more interested in their primaries than their general elections are terrible for this country. And while I knew that gerrymandering only occrred in the house beforehand, quite often, the actions of these republicans are indistinguishable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  40. Xenos says:

    @Jeremy R: Incredible. But entirely believable. Any Republican ought to be ashamed to be associated with these idiots.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @LaMont:

    it only solidifies their chances of winning their respective elections in what is now a gerrymandered pile of horse$&%#!

    You can’t gerrymander a state wide vote LaMont.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @LaMont: Matt beat me to it I see. Sorry for piling on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. gVOR08 says:

    Another crisis manufactured out of thin air by Republicans. This is no way to run a country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  44. john personna says:

    @gVOR08:

    The death throes of a Party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  45. Rob in CT says:

    From Sullivan:

    “To be honest with you, Neil, it goes back to there’s a lot of ill will towards Senator Hagel because when he was a Republican, he attacked President Bush mercilessly and say he was the worst President since Herbert Hoover and said the surge was the worst blunder since the Vietnam War, which was nonsense. He was anti-his own party and people — people don’t forget that. You can disagree but if you’re disagreeable, then people don’t forget that,” – John McCain, still a douche.

    So it appears McCain is firmly in the “Knife the Apostate” camp I mentioned before. Who woulda thunk Bitter McBitterson would act in such a manner?

    But look, Rand Paul voted against Hagel as well. This isn’t just angry grandpa McCain having a fit.

    GOP Delenda Est.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  46. john personna says:

    I think this episode illustrates why OTB has lost its voice and why The American Conservative still has one.

    You’ve got to be for something. When the Republicans screw up this consistently, numbly observing each failure isn’t that strong a response. You’ve got to be for a rejection the party, or a reinvention of it.

    Poor OTB. We’ve got Doug taking sullen pot-shots from the Libertarian fringes. We’ve got Steven starting some sort of transition. And we’ve got James, hanging there in the netherworld, barely attached by old loyalties and mood affiliation.

    For the commenters here center and left this amounts to slow-pitch baseball. For the commenters center and right … we’ll they’ve all voted with their feet. They are gone, leaving only a few stubborn madmen and trolls to “represent.”

    God. With Doug, Steven and James on one side, and Tsar, Jenos, and JKB … it’s a sorry, sorry, world.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  47. mantis says:

    @john personna:

    We’ve got Steven starting some sort of transition.

    I think he’s well past “starting.” James is a battered wife. He just can’t let go.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  48. SoWhat says:

    I agree this is the wrong strategy for the GOP. Hagel is obviously out of his depth and a buffoon, but so what? Obama wants an ignorant buffoon for this major cabinet position and he should get what he wants.

    Senate Democrats, fearful of crossing Dear Leader, will vote lockstep for Hagel’s nomination; Hagel then will continue saying and doing wacky stuff which will make dandy campaign ads for the GOP running aginst all those lockstepping Dems up for re-election in ’14.

    Obama wants to gut the military anyway and he has the power to do it, so why shouldn’t the GOP capitalize on the inevitable?

    Depending on what happens over the next two years, a no vote against Hagel could be as powerful for the GOP as a no vote against the Iraq war for Dems.

    Go! Chuck! Go!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  49. john personna says:

    @SoWhat:

    Wasn’t Hagel a pretty respected Republican right up until Obama nominated him?

    What kind of party is stupid and violent enough to turn on one of their own as soon as Obama convinces them to serve in his administration?

    … easy game for Obama though. Pick Republicans, watch other Republicans rend their flesh.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  50. john personna says:

    (“viscous” was a better word than “violent” for the above.)

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  51. Rob in CT says:

    @SoWhat:

    I love how Hagel is “an ignorant buffoon” now. That’s apparently Newspeak for “he said mean things about us when we were wrong a few years back.”

    Hagel then will continue saying and doing wacky stuff

    What wacky stuff?

    Obama wants to gut the military

    Ha… haha… hahahahahahahahahaha.

    Credibility = zero.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  52. SoWhat says:

    Wow, sad and pathetic.

    DNC Talking Points Rule, Logic Drools!

    Rob and jp are why OTB has become a one trick pony.

    ZZzzzzzz

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  53. David M says:

    @SoWhat:

    Depending on what happens over the next two years, a no vote against Hagel could be as powerful for the GOP as a no vote against the Iraq war for Dems.

    Care to expand on that? It appears you’re equating cutting defense spending with invading Iraq for no reason…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  54. john personna says:

    @SoWhat:

    Define “gut the military” in coherent terms, if you want to wear rationalist, realist, pants.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  55. anjin-san says:

    I love how Hagel is “an ignorant buffoon” now.

    Especially since he is a self made multi-millionaire. Under ordinary circumstances, that makes one a demigod on the right.

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  56. SoWhat says:

    I’m being attacked for agreeing with the majority here that Hagel ought to be confirmed. Sure I have different reasons, but so what?

    What difference does it make if Hagel is a “self-made millionaire” or not? It certainly didn’t do much for Mitt Romney. What difference does it make if I want to wear pants or not? And why should jp care what I wear? What difference does it make if a vote for Iraq war is/isn’t just like a vote for Hagel confirmation?

    None. Lame arguments, all. But so what, this is OTB, after all.

    Hagel is a rare opportunity for a bipartisan win-win. If Hagel turns out to exceed the decidedly low expectations for him, Obama will be hailed as a political genius. If on the other hand Hagel turns out to be the chronic foot-in-mouth buffoon I think he is, the GOP will sock it to the lockstepping Dem Senators who voted for him out of fear of Dear Leader.

    Either way, a Hagel confirmation will be a win for one side or the other, we will just have to wait and see which one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  57. David M says:

    @SoWhat:

    What difference does it make if a vote for Iraq war is/isn’t just like a vote for Hagel confirmation?

    Using a comparison that ridiculous calls into question your judgement on Hagel. It’s also quite amusing the GOP are partly opposing Hagel because he no longer is in the group of GOP loons who think the Iraq war was the greatest thing ever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  58. john personna says:

    @SoWhat:

    So … you enter this thread with this:

    Senate Democrats, fearful of crossing Dear Leader, will vote lockstep for Hagel’s nomination; Hagel then will continue saying and doing wacky stuff which will make dandy campaign ads for the GOP running aginst all those lockstepping Dems up for re-election in ’14.

    Obama wants to gut the military anyway and he has the power to do it, so why shouldn’t the GOP capitalize on the inevitable?

    And anyone answering it is “attacking” you?

    Let me guess, you like the little bubble where you can say “Dear Leader” and everybody nods, you say “gut the military” and everyone says “damn right.”

    They have a name for that. It is called Epistemic Closure

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  59. Rob in CT says:

    I’m being attacked for

    Saying silly things, for one. Also for not being funny.

    “Dear Leader” and “Gut the Military” are the most obvious examples.

    Gut the military… I remember that particular phrase used a lot in the 90s, with reference to the (then) present-day Clinton admin, and also harking back to the awful no good Jimmy Carter era, when men wore ugly sweaters. It was nonsense then and it’s *really* nonsensical now.

    Dear Leader is even more recent – used quite a bit by Lefties to mean Bush the Younger. I assume this is just “nuhuh! You are!” turnabout.

    Come up with something new at least.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  60. SoWhat says:

    “Come up with something new at least.” You first.

    “Epistemic Closure”. Zzzzzzzz

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  61. An Interested Party says:

    “Epistemic Closure”. Zzzzzzzz

    It is hardly surprising that the truth puts you to sleep, if your comments are any indication…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0